Super healthy banana and cinnamon muffins

I had some seriously ripe bananas that were about to expire in my fruit bowl this week, and I hate throwing away food so I had to do something with them. I didn’t have a whole lot of ingredients at home, so I just made up a recipe from what I had and it turned out really well. These healthy banana and cinnamon muffins have no sugar and are low in fat so they’re completely guilt-free. I’ve been eating them as a pre-exercise snack – they’re great if you need something to tide you over if you go for an early morning run.

Super healthy banana and cinnamon muffins

Makes about 14 muffins

  • 3 seriously over-ripe bananas, mashed
  • 175 plain low-fat or fat-free yoghurt
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • A handful of raisins or sultanas (or a mix)
  • A generous pinch of cinnamon
  • A handful of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and linseeds
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup bran

Mix together all the wet ingredients. Add all the dry ingredients one by one, stirring well. Once combined, pour into the mixture into greased muffin pans, filling each pan 3/4 full. Bake in a 180 C oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the muffins start turning golden.

Moroccan lentil and butternut pie

I’ve had a craving for Moroccan-spiced food recently. It probably has something to do with this wintry weather in Cape Town. Moroccan spices are deliciously warming and fragrant – perfect for autumnal suppers. I made up this pie recipe on the hop, and (if I do say so myself) it’s rather good. I served it with crispy sweet potato wedges sprinkled with chilli flakes.

moroccan lentil and butternut pie

Serves 8

500g peeled butternut, cut into small cubes
400g courgettes, grated
100g spinach
2 tins of brown lentils, rinsed and drained
2 free-range eggs
200g feta, crumbled
2 T toasted pine nuts
2 T slivered almonds
2 T each of chopped flat-leaf parsley and coriander
20 raisins
1 onion, finely chopped
2 dried apricots, finely chopped
2 heaped tsp harissa paste
1 tsp crushed garlic
Whole cumin seeds, paprika and whole coriander seeds
1 tsp honey
250g filo pastry
Melted butter

Heat the oven to 180 C. Put the butternut in a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cumin seeds and paprika. Roast until the butternut is cooked, about 40 minutes.

In the meantime, put the grated courgette into a colander and sprinkle with some salt. Leave over the sink for about 20 minutes and then squeeze to drain the excess water.

Fry the onion in some olive oil until it starts to soften and then add the harissa paste, garlic and a pinch each of cumin and coriander seeds. If you like heat, add a good pinch of dried chilli flakes. Fry for a minute or two and then add the courgette. Fry until the courgette is softened, and then add the lentils. Turn up the heat at this point to burn off all the water. Cook the lentils for a few minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach until it’s wilted.

Combine the eggs, honey, apricots, raisins, feta, almonds, pine nuts and herbs and mix together with the lentils.

Brush a bit of melted butter on the bottom of a large casserole dish and lay down a sheet of filo pastry. Brush a bit of melted butter on top of the sheet and put another one on top. Repeat until you have four sheets on top of each other. Pour in the butternut cubes and spread across the base of the pie. On top of this pour in the lentil mixture and spread evenly. Now comes the fun part – scrunch up sheets of filo and cover up the top of the pie to make the ‘crust’. Brush the sheets with melted butter. Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Easy veggie quiche

I made up this recipe the other day when I had some shortcrust pastry in the freezer, some leftover crème fraiche and a motley collection of veggies lurking in the fridge. The recipe is pretty basic, so you can add whatever vegetables you have to hand.

Veggie quiche

Serves 5

  • 400 g ready made shortcrust pastry, thawed
  • 250 g crème fraiche
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • A handful of grated cheese (whatever you have around – I used mature cheddar)
  • 3 courgettes, sliced
  • 250 g mushrooms, sliced
  • 180g baby spinach
  • 8-10 sundried tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • A hanful of chopped cherry tomatoes
  • A few fresh basil leaves (optional)

    First of all, grease a quiche pan and roll out the pastry, pushing it up to the edges. Prick a few times and then bake blind (covered in foil and baking beans) at 180 C for twenty minutes. For the last five minutes, take out the beans and foil.

    Saute the onion in some olive oil until it starts to turn translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes, and then add the courgettes. Cook for about five minutes until the courgettes have become soft. Add the sundried tomatoes and remove from the heat.

    Beat together the eggs and the crème fraiche. Mix in the cooked veggies and add roughly chopped basil leaves, and add the tomato paste, cheese and cherry tomatoes. Pour into the partially baked pastry case and bake in the oven at 180 C for 20-25 minutes until golden.

    Marmite tart

    This is my mum’s recipe for Marmite tart, which sounds kind of odd but is really delicious. It’s sort of a gourmet version of marmite and cheese on toast, I guess. By the time we could get a photograph half of it was eaten…

    • 1 cup flour
    • ½ cup and 1 ½ T melted butter
    • ¼ cup grated cheddar
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 free range egg
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp Marmite

    Preheat the oven to 180C.

    Mix the flour and butter and then add the grated cheese. Mix together and then add the milk, salt and egg and beat to combine. Add the baking powder.

    Pour into a greased pie dish and bake at 180C for 30 minutes.

    Take the tart out of the oven and prick all over. Melt together the 1 ½ T butter and 1 tsp Marmite and pour over the warm tart.

    Ginny’s breakfast rusks

    Rusks are basically a South African version of biscotti – hard twice-baked biscuits. Rusks evolved as a way to preserve bread and were eaten on long journeys by South Africa’s early pioneers. Because rusks are hard, they are usually eaten after being dipped into tea or coffee.

    This is my aunt Ginny’s recipe for seedy, nutty breakfast rusks. I don’t usually like rusks very much, but I love these.

    Ginny's Breakfast Rusks

    Ingredients :

    • 6 cups white flour
    • 2 cups whole wheat flour
    • 7 tsp baking powder
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 cup sunflower seeds
    • 3 cups all bran flakes
    • 1 cup chopped pecan nuts (optional)
    • 500 ml buttermilk or plain yoghurt
    • 250 ml oil
    • 300 g butter
    • 3 free-range eggs

    Mx all the dry ingredients together.

    Melt butter and allow to cool.

    Beat the eggs.

    Mix the wet and dry ingredients together to make a dough.  Divide the dough in half and flatten in two roasting pans that have been lined with tinfoil and greased. Cut the dough into rusk-sized shapes before placing the tins inside the oven to cook for 1 hour at 160 C.

    Once cooked, the rusks need to be lifted and placed upright in the roasting pan and returned to the oven at 100 C for a further 2 hours. Turn off the oven and leave the rusks in there overnight so that they are able to dry out well.

    Ginny's Breakfast Rusks